The wing of the war industry known as ''the press'' is actually focused on Iraq for a moment or two. THE GUARDIAN tells you, "As many as 12 ballistic missiles have struck Iraq’s northern Kurdish
regional capital Erbil, with some reports suggesting several landed near
the US consulate building." QASSIM ABDUL-ZAHRA Associated Press all it took for them to off and rubbing -- stroke their cocks, stroke their clits, they all plan to get there and get off on the events that horrifiy normal people. Qassim Abdul-Zahra (AP) notes, "No injuries were reported. Officials in Iraq and the U.S. gave different
accounts of the strike and the damage it caused. A second U.S. official
said there was no damage at any U.S. government facility and that there
was no indication the target was the consulate building, which is new
and currently unoccupied." MIDDLE EAST EYE adds, "Erbil is the site of bases that host US forces." DW notes that the US State Dept has termed the attak "outrageous." Dilan Sirwan (RUDAW) provides this context, "This is the first attack on US missions in the Kurdistan Region this
year. Previous attacks were blamed on Iranian-backed Iraqi militias who
have demanded that United States forces withdraw from Iraq."
missiles were launched from the "east outside Iraq's borders" towards a
new United States consulate building and residential areas, according
to a statement from the Kurdistan Regional Government. The attack
damaged buildings and homes and one person was "lightly wounded," the
borders Iraq to its east, though the statement did not name the
country. There was no immediate information on claims of responsibility
for the attack.
reports shared on social media had claimed the missiles may have struck
the US consulate building, but Lawk Ghafuri, press spokesperson for the
Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), said Sunday that only areas around
the compound were hit.
UPI appears to be one of the few outlets that feels reporters exist otuside of western borders. They are the only ones noting, "The station of local news channel Kurdistan 24 was also damaged in the attack. A photo posted to Twitter by Barzan Sadiq, one of the station's reporters, depicted fallen debris on the studio floor." Patrick Reilly (NEW YORK POST) also notes kURDISTAN 24, "Satellite television stationKurdistan24,
which is located near the US consulate, went live from the studio
shortly after the attack, showing shattered glass and debris strewn
across the studio floor."
The management of Kurdistan 24 said in a public statement that the
attack caused the channel to stop its broadcasts for a few minutes. “We
will assure the audience and viewers that we will continue to work and
continue our national message.”
“We will continue broadcasting and spreading the truth despite substantial damage to our equipment.”
“From here, we thank all the parties and parties that have asked for
the safety of the Kurdistan Staff 24, whether by sending the message or
Kurdistan Region Health Minister Saman Barzinji visited the Kurdistan 24 channel in a solidarity visit after the attack.
Nawzad Hadi, adviser to the president of Kurdistan Region, visited Kurdistan 24 and condemned the attack.
"There are a multitude of potential reasons (for the Erbil attack),
but the most likely is that the Iranians see Erbil as a hub for its
opponents in the region to plan and conduct attacks against Iran and its
interests," Nicholas Heras, deputy director of the Human Security Unit
at the Newlines Institute for Strategy and Policy, told Kurdistan 24.
The attacks come as the political stalemate in Iraq continues five months after the elections took place. The country still does not have a new president or prime minister despite elections having taken place October 10th. REUTERS notes, "Domestic politics has also fueled violence. Iraqi political parties,
most of which have armed wings, are currently in tense talks over
forming a government after an election in October. Shi’ite militia
groups close to Iran warn in private that they will resort to violence
if they are left out of any ruling coalition."
The attack also comes after the consulate issued a statement -- a detail that no news report has noted in their coverage of the missile attacks. RUDAW explains:
The US Consulate General in Erbil expressed its concern regarding the
recent surge of domestic violence and femicide in the Kurdistan Region
on Friday, stressing that culprits must be brought to justice.
Eman Sami Maghdid, 20, was shot dead on Erbil’s 100 metes road late
Sunday. Her death followed a number of similar cases in the Kurdistan
Region. Kirkuk police arrested the suspected murderer of the Kurdish woman on Wednesday.
“So-called “#honor_killings” like the recent murders of Eman “Maria”
Sami Maghdeed, Maryam Yacoob, and Aydi Muhammed must be investigated and
followed by a legal response, with the perpetrators held responsible,”
said the US Consulate in a statement.
The Consulate in their statement urged the Kurdistan Regional Government
to continue taking meaningful action towards ending all violation of
the rights of women and other marginalized communities, while also
stating: “we stand ready to assist.”
Go through all the reports -- and there are more: BLOOMBERG, CNBC, etc -- and find one that notes that on Friday the Cosnulate issued a statement. Is it related? I have no idea. Forced to guess, I'd say no, it doesn't. But it does tell you what sort of work the Consulate does, it does provide context. For all anyone knows at this point, it may be a motive in the attack. But it's missing.
Because the western press doesn't give a damn about the women in Iraq and it never has.
In 2022, we're once again counting down to Record Store Day along with Classic Album Sundays and Bowers & Wilkins with a series of videos that go Behind The Counter of record stores across the United States.
Bruce Levine’s books have been getting more and more thorough in their debunkings of the claims of psychiatry. His latest is A Profession Without Reason.
Some mental illnesses that have been eliminated include drapetomania, or the mental illness causing enslaved people to try to escape; and homosexuality, or the mental illness causing people to love people that somebody else might wish they wouldn’t. These mental illnesses have been eliminated by ceasing to call them mental illnesses.
Some mental illnesses that have been reduced by the good practices of psychiatry, although not yet thoroughly eliminated include . . . well, nothing. Mental illnesses and suicides are on the rise.
But it’s not even clear what we’re dealing with. In studies, different psychiatrists have been as likely as not to diagnose the same patient as having or not having a mental illness, and to disagree on which mental illness if any the patient has.
It could be that part or all of what is on the rise is simply diagnoses. But there’s no strong evidence that psychiatry is effectively treating mental illnesses in those it treats. The profession is widely and deeply funded by drug companies, and its treatments often involve drugs. But the drugs are no more effective than placebos or the passage of time, and often have negative long-term effects that simple placebos or doing nothing don’t have.
Drugs to cure mental illnesses are sometimes based on faulty science known to be faulty. Depression is not caused by a chemical imbalance or a shortage of serotonin. Yet psychiatrists tell people that it is and prescribe drugs as if it were.
Actual causes of depression include fear, poverty, and a lack of friends and loved ones. Socio-economic variables are more clearly associated with mental suffering than is anything bio-chemical. This is one of those well-established facts that U.S. culture has a well-established practice of avoiding — as with the similarly well-established fact that addressing socio-economic needs reduces crime more efficiently than does incarceration.
Also more clearly associated with mental difficulties than is anything genetic is childhood trauma. But somehow we never focus on developing a society that can better care for children in the way that we do on developing drugs for mental illnesses. Similarly, preventing pollution that causes cancer is just never as big a deal as curing cancer after it’s caused. I suppose people must buy all those drugs in all those commercials with all those warnings of seemingly catastrophic side effects, yet I’ve never seen a single ad warning that prescribing an inequality of wealth beyond medieval levels could result in fascism.
Psychiatry has a preference for claiming that things are genetically based, and for claiming that mental illnesses are permanent (but should be permanently treated). It was on this basis that, in the 20th century, the U.S. sterilized 70,000 people and Germany killed 300,000. But not long after Germany had killed most of the Germans diagnosed with schizophrenia, the prevalence of that disease in Germany was higher, not lower.
Leading U.S. psychiatrists today, sounding much like neocons selling a war, openly claim that it is a “noble lie” to give people a false diagnosis and a false cure, because this can have a placebo effect. But there are approaches with the potential to help more than that, and these are shoved aside by all the noble lying. Meanwhile, giving people actual placebos, to avoid the side-effects of drugs that are known not to work, is deemed “unethical.” So is failing to stigmatize people with the label “mentally ill” even when there’s nothing concrete to establish to independent observers that someone is “mentally ill.”
As Levine shows us, psychiatrists wish both to be and to not be neurologists. That is, they hope and struggle to find brain activity that corresponds to their illnesses, thus far without notable success. Yet they hope not to find solutions via neuro-surgery, as that would put them out of work. Nonetheless, they’ve moved — for both reasons of financial corruption and reasons of science envy — ever more toward drugs and other physical approaches, as opposed to recommending therapy or life changes.
Psychiatry also resorts, of course, to coercion, to forced medication, forced institutionalization, and such barbaric still-used-today practices as electroshock (despite no evidence that it works).
But what do we do with people who are really crazy? Who hear voices? Who are a danger to themselves and others? Well, apparently some 5% to 28% of the population hears voices. The remaining population could never lock that many people up. A proper approach needs to be specific to each case. But there seems to be greater success, in many cases, not in labeling people monsters and dealing with them accordingly, but in offering them friendship and respect despite their most fantastical delusions, and reducing their fears — something, in other words, like the polar opposite of social media. Peer groups of people with similar unusual mental states are able to aid their members without shame or stigmatization.
But what about all the deeply ingrained stories that point toward established practice? What about John Nash whose story in “A Beautiful Mind” involved him being saved by medication? It was a lie. The reality was that he recovered despite and after getting away from forced institutionalization and medication, and that what helped him was the support of loved ones and friends. He also explained how he learned to identify unreliable thoughts, lessons that could be helpful even for people suffering to a much more limited degree — far more helpful than walling off the “ill” from the “well” as if there were no spectrum running unbroken from one to the other.
While homosexuality is no longer an illness, there is an illness called Oppositional Defiant Disorder for people who aren’t obedient enough. There’s one called Conduct Disorder for people who do things society disapproves of. These seem to tell us more about the fears of the psychiatrists than about the patients. We live in a society that slaughters and eats non-human animals for fun, that locks millions of people behind bars for no good reason, that routinely knowingly destroys the prospects for future life on Earth, that invests in wars and nuclear weapons, and that largely believes in the claims of popular religions no less absurd than the delusions of any patient. If every nutty belief got you labeled mentally ill, who would remain among the well? If Vladimir Putin’s insane warmaking renders him impossible to negotiate with — even for people who regularly engage in insane warmaking — something’s got to go: either the entire profession of diplomacy, or the habit of labeling entire people (as opposed to a few of their beliefs or actions) crazy. Surely the change that occurs when a former U.S. client (Noriega, Gadaffi, Hussein) falls out of favor is not a medical change.
We’ve also got a disease called Anti-Social Personality Disorder, or what’s commonly referred to as the permanent and alien malignity of “the sociopaths.” This is thought to explain much or all of what’s wrong with politics. We’ve had very progressive and caring commentators in recent years propose swift identification and sterilization of “the sociopaths” to right much of what is wrong with the political and business world — despite the complete inability to identify who the sociopaths are in any scientific way, meaning of course that they would be identified in a biased manner by the same sick society that created both the problems blamed on them and the final solution devised for them. My point is not that politicians don’t do horribly evil and cynical things miles removed from what many of us could ever imagine doing, things we have a hard time even thinking about. My points are these: you can eliminate oligarchs by taxing their wealth; you can democratize a government through mass nonviolent action; you can compel the same power-hungry politicians who do evil to do good through public pressure; and Nietzsche was right: insanity is rare in individuals but the norm in entire societies.
We even have mental illnesses largely for victims of war (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder), as well as some for people made to worry about their weight (Anorexia and Bulimia). We have Phobias for people afraid of various things. But Levine makes a case that the severity with which sufferers are treated is largely a product of the fears of those doing the diagnosing and prescribing. Or rather, not fear, but “tension.” Levine does not define “tension” but uses it as the general cause of unfair treatment. If homosexuality causes tension in the minds of some people, then they are inclined to label it an illness. I would have liked an additional chapter on how to reduce tension.
Levine wants a major break from current psychiatric practices. He uses the term “complete” (a “complete break”) but I don’t think he can mean that. He also uses it to describe Baruch Spinoza’s break with popular religion, something that clearly was not literally complete. After reading these thoughts of mine, you might be surprised to discover that half of Levine’s book is about the 17th century philosopher Spinoza, whose thinking Levine uses to critique psychiatry, and whose experiences with prejudice and pseudo-science in his day allow for some striking comparisons to the doings of today’s psychiatrists.
Levine is a bit more taken with the relevance of Spinoza than I, even suggesting that only Spinoza’s prejudice against women lets us know he wasn’t perfect, as if perhaps his radically outdated philosophizing doesn’t need any general updating other than that. I think, on the contrary, what’s valuable here is the fact that someone so monumentally out of step could nonetheless have many basic lessons to teach a prestigious postmodern profession.
Friday, March 11, 2022. The White House spin collapses due to Victoria Nuland's remarks being caught on film, as the Ukraine media narrative begins to bite the dust the 'kingmaker' Moqtada one appears to also be dead on arrival, and much more.
Yes, Virginia, Ukraine has a US funded bio-weapons lab.
THE CONVO COUCH has been reporting on it this week.
And who are we to believe? Jen Psaki who is paid to lie or Victoria Nuland on camera testifying to Congress?
The Biden administration and the corporate media are continuing to cover
up the acknowledgment by Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs
Victoria Nuland that biological weapons laboratories have been
operating in Ukraine under US direction.
During her testimony before a hearing of the Senate Foreign Relations
Committee on Tuesday, when asked by Senator Marco Rubio (Republican of
Florida), “Does Ukraine have chemical or biological weapons?,” Nuland
responded that there are “biological research facilities” in the
While she did not discuss prior US government involvement
in these facilities—and Senator Rubio also did not ask her about
this—Nuland said that the State Department is “working with the
Ukrainians on how we can prevent any of those research materials from
falling into the hands of Russian forces should they approach.”
the scripted exchange continued, Senator Rubio said reports that Russia
had, “uncovered a plot by the Ukrainians to unleash biological weapons
in the country, and with NATO’s coordination,” were propaganda. Then
Nuland went on to say that “it is a classic Russian technique to blame
the other guy for what they are planning to do themselves.”
numerous international news outlets began reporting Nuland’s comments as
confirmation that US-backed biological weapons labs did in fact exist
in Ukraine as the Russians have maintained, the State Department was
forced to issue a denial on Wednesday in an official statement by
department spokesperson Ned Price.
Price did not confirm or deny
or even refer to the statements by Nuland. Instead, he wrote that the
Kremlin is, “intentionally spreading outright lies that the United
States and Ukraine are conducting chemical and biological weapons
activities in Ukraine.” He called the Russian reports “disinformation,”
and “total nonsense,” that had been “debunked conclusively and
repeatedly over many years.”
Price then repeated the claims made
in a lengthy tweet on Wednesday by White House Press Secretary Jen
Psaki, stating that the US, “does not own or operate any chemical or
biological laboratories in Ukraine” and is in full compliance with both
the Biological and Chemicals Weapons Conventions of the UN. Price also
said that Russia has a “track record of accusing the West of the very
crimes that Russia itself is perpetrating.” None of these assertions
were backed up with substantiating facts or evidence.
[. . .\
It is very clear that the exposure of US-sponsored biological warfare
operations in Ukraine explodes the entire narrative concocted by the
Biden administration and faithfully propagandized by the corporate media
that Russia is solely responsible for the present war crisis.
Self-anointed "fact-checkers” in the U.S. corporate press have spent two weeksmocking asdisinformation and a false conspiracy theory
the claim that Ukraine has biological weapons labs, either alone or
with U.S. support. They never presented any evidence for their ruling —
how could they possibly know? and how could they prove the negative? —
but nonetheless they invoked their characteristically authoritative,
above-it-all tone of self-assurance and self-arrogated right to decree
the truth, definitively labelling such claims false.
Ukraine currently maintains dangerous biological weapons labs came from
Russia as well as China. The Chinese Foreign Ministry this month claimed: "The US has 336 labs in 30 countries under its control, including 26 in Ukraine alone.” The Russian Foreign Ministry asserted
that “Russia obtained documents proving that Ukrainian biological
laboratories located near Russian borders worked on development of
components of biological weapons.” Such assertions deserve the same
level of skepticism as U.S. denials: namely, none of it should be
believed to be true or false absent evidence. Yet U.S. fact-checkers
dutifully and reflexively sided with the U.S. Government to declare such
claims "disinformation” and to mock them as QAnon conspiracy theories.
for this propaganda racket masquerading as neutral and high-minded
fact-checking, the neocon official long in charge of U.S. policy in
Ukraine testified on Monday before the Senate Foreign Relations
Committee and strongly suggested that such claims are, at least in part,
true. Yesterday afternoon, Under Secretary of State Victoria Nuland
appeared before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Sen. Marco Rubio
(R-FL), hoping to debunk growing claims that there are chemical weapons
labs in Ukraine, smugly asked Nuland: “Does Ukraine have chemical or
Rubio undoubtedly expected a flat denial by
Nuland, thus providing further "proof” that such speculation is
dastardly Fake News emanating from the Kremlin, the CCP and QAnon.
Instead, Nuland did something completely uncharacteristic for her, for
neocons, and for senior U.S. foreign policy officials: for some reason,
she told a version of the truth. Her answer visibly stunned Rubio, who —
as soon as he realized the damage she was doing to the U.S. messaging
campaign by telling the truth — interrupted her and demanded that she
instead affirm that if a biological attack were to occur, everyone
should be “100% sure” that it was Russia who did it. Grateful for the
life raft, Nuland told Rubio he was right.
But Rubio's clean-up
act came too late. When asked whether Ukraine possesses “chemical or
biological weapons,” Nuland did not deny this: at all. She instead —
with palpable pen-twirling discomfort and in halting speech, a glaring
contrast to her normally cocky style of speaking in obfuscatory State
Department officialese — acknowledged: “uh, Ukraine has, uh, biological
research facilities.” Any hope to depict such "facilities” as benign or
banal was immediately destroyed by the warning she quickly added: “we
are now in fact quite concerned that Russian troops, Russian forces, may
be seeking to, uh, gain control of [those labs], so we are working with
the Ukrainiahhhns [sic] on how they can prevent any of those research
materials from falling into the hands of Russian forces should they
For those paying attention, the official narrative just got exposed as a fraud and the whores who've pimped should be hanging their heads in shame -- but we all know that they're incapable of shame.
Meanwhile never understimate how greedy, craven and corrupt politicians can be. Can be and so often are.
In related news, David Sirota Tweets:
House Dems passed a bill to hand $52 billion to 5 tech CEOs to boost their pay, then they eliminated $15 billion of pandemic aid for millions of Americans, and now they're running off to a retreat in Philadelphia to try to figure out why most people can't stand them.
And as Jimmy Dore said in the video above, "If you think some other country is more blood thirsty, is more imperialistic and is more of an oppressor to their people than you've been propagandized."Not everyone's walking around dazed and confused. Tony Bramble (RED FLAG) observes:
The US is using the opportunity created by Russia’s invasion of
Ukraine to promote itself as a champion of national sovereignty,
democracy and human rights. In his State of the Union address on 2
March, US President Joe Biden was cheered by both sides of Congress as
he set out the US’s claims to higher purpose: “We fought for freedom,
expanded liberty, defeated totalitarianism and terror. We built the
strongest, freest and most prosperous nation the world has ever known”.
In relation to the invasion of Ukraine:
“Now is the hour. Our moment of responsibility. Our test of resolve
and conscience, of history itself ... I know this nation will meet the
test. To protect freedom and liberty, to expand fairness and
opportunity. We will save democracy.”
It’s nice that large countries invading small countries is now
self-evidently morally outrageous. Pity that wasn’t the case before the
US launched the two largest invasions so far this century, first in
Afghanistan in 2001 and then in Iraq in 2003. Just like Russia, the US
is up to its elbows in the blood of its innocent victims, their lives
destroyed by brutal invasions and occupations justified by lies.
Within weeks of the 11 September 2001 terrorist attacks on New York
and Washington, the George W. Bush administration had invaded
Afghanistan, despite the Taliban offering to hand over Osama bin Laden.
As Biden is doing today, Bush cloaked the US mission in democratic
rhetoric: “Freedom and fear are at war. The advance of human freedom,
the great achievement of our time and the great hope of every time, now
depends on us”.
Unlike the moral outrage in response to Russia’s invasion today,
there was widespread support for the invasion of Afghanistan. The
Democrats backed it, as did many US allies, including Australia. The
media, both populist and “serious”, such as the New York Times,
threw their full support behind it. Small-l liberals also backed up the
propaganda. Many prominent American feminist organisations supported
the war on the basis that the US could liberate Afghan women from
The invasion was overwhelmingly popular within the US, and in
Australia too. The few opponents of what the White House called the “War
on Terror” were accused of being terrorist sympathisers. It was left to
small groups of socialists and other committed anti-imperialists to
forcefully carry the arguments against the build-up to war.
On 7 October 2001, the US Air Force conducted the first air strikes,
followed by deployment of US ground troops in what the White House
called “Operation Enduring Freedom”. Within weeks, the Taliban had been
overthrown and its leaders killed or forced to flee to rural hideouts or
The invasion and eight-year occupation of Iraq came soon after. The
White House claimed that Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein represented an
existential threat to the world because his regime possessed weapons of
mass destruction: anthrax, nerve gas and nuclear weapons. The
administration also sought to link Saddam Hussein to 9/11, saying that
the Iraqi president was in league with al-Qaeda. The enemy was clear,
Bush argued: “States like these and their terrorist allies constitute an
axis of evil, arming to threaten the peace of the world”.
The media took Bush’s cue, and newspapers in the US, Europe and
Australia were filled with articles calling Hussein “the new Hitler”,
listing his crimes against his own people and describing in great detail
the supposed threat he posed to the world. General Colin Powell, US
secretary of state, argued that it was only a matter of time before
Hussein used his weapons of mass destruction against the world.
The US was much less successful in convincing the US population and
the rest of the world that it was justified in invading Iraq. Claims
that the US was bringing “freedom” and “democracy” to the Middle East
were being increasingly exposed by the reality of the US occupation in
Many observers predicted that Iraq’s elections last October would be a
potential turning point in the country’s long struggle to find
stability since 2003. Instead, the protracted government formation
process has featured political violence against opponents, including
tit-for-tat assassinations in the south, bombings of political offices
and linked businesses, and even an attempt on the prime minister’s life.
It has seen the judiciary weaponized to target opponents with lawsuits
and disqualify candidates. Foreign powers, including Iran, have also
directly intervened to prevent a change to the system of government.
All of this suggests that change is not on the horizon for Iraq. The
country is still stuck in familiar cycles of violence with no clear path
Some experts have found this especially disappointing because the election results had initially hinted
at change. Shiite populist cleric Muqtada al-Sadr defeated his
competitors by a significant margin, winning 73 seats. His rivals from
the previous election, the Iran-allied Fatah Alliance, lost 31 seats and
now only has 17 seats. His other rival, former Iraqi Prime Minister
Nouri al-Maliki’s State of Law Coalition, has only 35 seats. Sadr was
widely predicted to play the role of kingmaker.
Sensing an opportunity for fundamental change, Sadrists called for an
end to the consensus government system, where all parties divide the
state among themselves at the expense of corruption and stagnation. Sadr
instead insisted on a majoritarian government. The key was to exclude
longtime rival and Iranian ally Maliki. In its own change of policy, the
United States now backs Sadr, seeing his rise as an opportunity to push
out Iranian influence and change Iraqi politics.
Hey, Renad and Benedict, wlecome but the party's over. You can come back tomorrow and clean up, just hit the lights on the way out, will ya?
Is it a surprise?
It's not to me. None of this is surprising.
I believe this is sexactly where we said the situation woul dbe.
A lot of whores wanted to pretend that Moqtada was a king maker. We questioned that press narrative from the beginning.
We stood alone in doing that. We'll stop and rest while the rest of you struggle to catch up. All these months later.
There was never a reason to believe that Moqtada was a king maker. There was never a reason to believe he was a leader. Even his cult sees defections.
Maybe if outlets had told the truth, so many people wouldn't have been fooled.
moqtada's bloc in the 2021 election? It got more votes in the previous election. Support was down for all existing parties (with the exception of the KDP in Kurdistan). While the press was spinning and whoring, analytical minds rightly saw the depressed turnout for Moqtada as something worthy of exploration.
The elections were held October 10th. Five months ago. Still no president, still no prime minister. The country's Constitution has been violated and ignored. The already politicized court system got even more politicized. None of thsi is good for Iraq.
The Speaker of Parliament? Same person it was before the election. It's the only power position filled, by the way. President? The current president wants to retain his spot as does the current prime minister.
So it is possible that Iraq could see the election results resulted in no change at all.
What was the point of holding elections if the people the people wante removed from office just continue to hang on?
In 2010, Joe Biden taught the Iraqi people that voting did not matter. That's whent hey voted out Nouri al-Maliki as prime minister and when Joe Biden oversaw The Erbil Agreement that tossed the votes aside and gave Nouri that second term anyway.
He was vice president then. Now he's president and Irais may have another example of just how useless voting is under their current system.
An abusive legal complaint has been filed against a member of Iraq’s
High Commission for Human Rights (IHCHR) who sought to investigate
allegations of torture of detainees.
The complaint was filed on February 3 against Dr. Ali al-Bayati, a
member of Iraq’s High Commission for Human Rights (IHCHR). Three days
later, al-Bayati was interrogated by Rusafa Investigative Court
personnel in Baghdad over his discussion about an investigation the
IHCHR had begun into the work of Iraq’s anti-corruption committee, which
Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi established two years ago.
The legal action stems from comments al-Bayati made in an interview on Alahad Television in December 2020, that the IHCHR had received allegations some detainees arrested under orders from the anti-corruption committee had been tortured.
The IHCHR sought to investigate these allegations and requested from
the anti-corruption committee to interview detainees being held on
charges related to the committee’s work.
Al-Bayati said the anti-corruption committee refused the request, one
that falls within the legal mandate of the IHCHR and directed the IHCHR
to seek permission from the General Secretariat for the Council of
Ministers. Rather than grant the IHCHR’s request, the secretariat
instigated the legal complaint against al-Bayati. The complaint refers
to article 434 of Iraq’s penal code outlining the “insult” or imputation
of another, a crime punishable by up to one year in prison.
“It is very humiliating and painful to be a doctor and human rights
defender in a democratic country, and then enter a court accused not
because of a crime you committed, but instead because you defended the
rights of fellow citizens and fulfilled the duties you swore to
perform,” al-Bayati told Human Rights Watch.
While the legal and political wrangling over Iraq’s anti-corruption
efforts continues, the Iraqi judiciary and the General Secretariat for
the Council of Ministers should take immediate steps to drop this
abusive complaint against Ali al-Bayati. Criticizing state authorities,
or conducting human rights investigations, should not be criminal acts.
They also should commit to granting the IHCHR access to all detainees
alleging abuse and torture. That individuals tasked with investigating
basic human rights abuses are themselves subjected to legal sanction
simply for doing their work is both deeply ironic and bodes poorly for
Iraqis in far more vulnerable circumstances.